Image credit: Melbourne Press Club

About Me

Petra Stock is a journalist with Cosmos covering science generally, andspecialising in technology and society, robotics, policy and environmental issues.

She also writes freelance and has been published in The Age, Crikey, Australian Geographic, Archer, RenewEconomy, The Driven, and The Citizen

Petra was Highly Commended in the Best Technology Issues Journalist and Alicia Camphuisen Best New Journalist categories at the 2023 Samsung Australia IT Journalism Awards (the Lizzies).

She was Melbourne Press Club's Student Journalist of the Year for 2021 and the 2022 Schiavon Cadet at the Centre for Advancing Journalism.

Her investigative journalism was highly commended in the Democracy's Watchdogs' student journalism award and the Ossie Awards

Petra brings to journalism two decades of professional experience working in climate change, renewable energy, environmental impact assessments and Aboriginal heritage. She has a Master of Journalism and is also a qualified Environmental Engineer.


In depth coverage and longer reads

Florists and growers say buy local blooms for Mother's Day to avoid giving mum a chemical surprise

Would you buy flowers for Mother’s Day if you knew they had been dipped in weed killer?

Florists and flower growers are encouraging consumers to choose locally grown blooms this Sunday to avoid the chemicals associated with imports.

Anna Jabour is the CEO of Flower Industry Australia, which represents florists and local growers. She says flowers and foliage grown in other countries aren’t subject to the same strict use of chemicals as those grown in Australia, and imports are also fumigated an

A revolution in real time: Transferring robots out of the lab and into the real world

Robots are front-and-centre from the moment secondary school students arrive at Wyndham Tech School.

‘Spot’ greets them out front. The Boston Dynamics dog-like robot does a little dance before leading students inside to where SoftBank’s child-sized humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ welcomes them and acknowledges Country.

The focus of the tech school – one of ten, soon to be sixteen, across Victoria – is to enable the 10,000 or so students who come through its doors to get ‘hands on’ with some of the mos

Want diversity in robotics? Address workplace culture first

Professor Wendy Moyle knows what it’s like to face barriers in pursuing robotics research.

She’s had people throw things at her when presenting at conferences, and she’s faced difficulties accessing grant funding to study the effects of robots and technology in aged care. Once, a journal editor even penned a nasty two-page editorial about her research.

“Initially it was an absolute nightmare, and I do sometimes wonder why I actually continued,” she says.

But with tenacity, Moyle ultimately se

'Employee of the month': businesses making room for robot workers

Two tall cats are zipping back and forth between the kitchen and dining room of ‘Matsumoto’, a Japanese restaurant located in Melbourne’s inner north, as customers begin arriving for lunch.

Owner Alice Chan says she purchased the BellaBots – robots with cat-like features – about a year ago after seeing them at a food service trade show. She says it was a way to deal with COVID-19 staff shortages, along with ferrying hundreds of food delivery orders to the pick-up counter.

Apart from their poin

The art of trusting robots

When artist Agnieszka Pilat ventures out with Boston Dynamics robot ‘Spot’, she always wears yellow, making the human-robot team present like a pair of Minions.

Colour-coordinating is a deliberate ploy by Pilat, designed to make the robot more approachable, to inspire trust and curiosity, and help overcome people’s fears and misconceptions.

“It puts people at ease instantly when they see there’s a human connected to the robot, not that the robot is walking by itself,” she tells Cosmos.

When s

What we can learn from the history of flying taxis

“The age of aerial taxis is here”, proclaimed the Wall Street Journal. In 1951.

Today the promise of hailing a flying cab still hovers over the horizon.

There’s been a recent uplift in air taxi announcements – proposals for a flying rideshare service in Melbourne from Uber Air, then Eve and Microflite and a partnership between Wisk Aero and Queensland mayors to deliver air taxis in time for the 2032 Olympics.

Governments and industry alike promote the idea as “transformative” even “revolution

Parcel delivery by postie, drone or footpath robot?

As digitisation drives a long-term decline in letters – down 66% from their peak in 2007-08 – and dramatic uplift in online shopping and parcel deliveries, the Federal Government says it’s looking for ways to modernise Australia’s postal system.

The government wants to improve the flexibility and reliability of parcel delivery, enabling Australia Post to remain a competitive player in the lucrative parcel delivery market, and is seeking responses to its discussion paper until 27 April 2023.


Bilbies: What can history teach us about these 'gorgeous creatures'?

Bilbies have a lot going for them. Biologically and ecologically the small, furry marsupials should be thriving, and yet they’re not, says University of Queensland biologist Dr Jennifer Silcock.

“They’re this omnivorous, non-specialist, generalist fast-breeding species,” she says. “They should be a pest, but they’re not, they’re really endangered. If we’re losing a species like the bilby, we’re really doing something pretty wrong with land management.”

Silcock is the lead author of research pu

Beyond the peel: How are farmers adapting as climate change shifts the wet/dry season to the Victorian border?

Mixed peel: those chewy nips of dried, candied lemon and orange rind that give Easter buns their zesty and bitter edge.

I love baking hot cross buns. But this year, searches for the peel proved fruitless, despite visiting five supermarkets and independent grocers.

Citrus peel is the latest produce to be affected by extreme weather conditions in 2023, a year marked by shortages of iceberg lettuce, and even potatoes.

Candied peel in Australia is mainly imported from Italy. In the Northern Hemis

By now you're probably familiar with the role of Chief Health Officer, but what about Chief Engineer?

They’ve advised governments on everything from synthetic turf, wild horses, digital transformation, coal-seam-gas, education and net zero strategy.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australians are now overly familiar with our Chief Health Officers. Some even have nicknames (like SA’s “Saint Nicola”), or their faces printed on throw pillows (like Victoria’s Professor Brett Sutton).

Along with CHOs, many states and territories also have Chief Engineers.

But who are they, and what do they d

Kitchen engineering and the Great British Bake Off

It’s eighteen minutes into the first signature bake when Italian engineer Giuseppe Dell’Anno breaks out a steel ruler. Calmly, precisely he measures and slices twelve almond, orange blossom and ricotta mini rolls, ensuring each is exactly 8cm.

Engineering and baking are more similar than you might think, says Dell’Anno, who went on to win season 12 of reality TV show the Great British Bake Off.

And he tells Cosmos, the link is even stronger for his speciality, materials engineering.

Before ta

Send in the robots!

When a tyre blaze broke out at a Pilbara mine site last year, a firefighting robot helped douse the flames.

In that harsh environment, tyre fires do happen. Usually, a 300m exclusion zone is put in place for safety, which means assets are left to burn, requiring part of the mine to be shut down for 24 hours.

So when mine operator Rio Tinto approached Australian robotics company BIA5 to design and build RORI (short for Remotely Operated Rescue Initiative) this was the exact scenario they had in

Starting early key in addressing the STEM gender gap

It’s a chilly Thursday morning in Broadmeadows, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting possible showers throughout Melbourne.

A group of sixteen kindergarteners from Gowrie Broadmeadows Valley are ready to brave the elements with their gumboots, backpacks and an array of purple, blue and red parkas.

Together with their educators, groups of children leave the warmth and predictability of the early learning centre and head out into nature — to learn, explore and play in an outdoor classroom.

Face off: Australia's complicated history with the faces on its banknotes

In May 1990, when the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced plans to replace Caroline Chisholm with the Queen on a new $5 note, the decision stoked growing republican sentiment and unleashed a fiery backlash about the representation of Australian women on banknotes.

Paul Keating called the decision a “national disgrace”. Historian Manning Clark described it as “deplorable” and “retrograde”. The mauve-coloured fiver was the first of a series of new polymer banknotes to be issued between 1992

Honouring forgotten women scientists

In the case of German astronomer Maria Kirch (1670 – 1720), her husband was largely to blame. Kirch discovered a comet in 1702 – the first woman to do so – but when her spouse wrote to King Leopold I to describe the discovery he “omitted” to mention his wife.

Perhaps Gottfried Kirch had a guilty conscience. Just before his death he revealed his wife was the one who had made the discovery.

Meanwhile when French mathematician Sophie Germain (1776 – 1831) was refused entry to engineering academy
Load More


Public interest and freedom of information reports

COVID-19 schools data reveal: Unreleased Victorian data and analysis on masks, RATs and cases

Health Department documents obtained by Cosmos through FoI shed light on the effectiveness of COVID school measures, while also raising questions.

After two years in and out of lockdowns and 35 weeks of remote learning, Victorian schools began 2022 with some of the most stringent COVID-19 measures in the country.

Mandatory masks for Grade 3 and above, twice-weekly RAT screening, mandatory vaccines for teachers, air purifiers and operational measures – were announced by Premier Daniel Andrews a

‘We had to try a few home visits’: Concern for student welfare peaked in lockdown six

At one point, more than 80 per cent of secondary schools were “very concerned or concerned” about student mental health and wellbeing, while almost 70 per cent of secondary schools were worried about academic progress. Jo Camozzato, principal at Edgars Creek Secondary College, said there was no doubt this year’s extended lockdown affected students’ mental health and their enthusiasm for school, despite teachers’ best efforts. “The staff provided well-thought-out and engaging learning activities

Unknown, uninvited strangers joining Victorian online classrooms

Unknown and uninvited people have joined classrooms held on digital platform Webex at least 13 times during remote learning in Victoria. Education Department documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal the incidents include strangers posting “images of a concerning sexual nature”, making racist comments and engaging in aggressive and threatening behaviour. A Department of Education spokesman says “the online safety of Victorian school students is our top priority”. The FoI docume

Remote learning security concern after threatening strangers breach online classrooms

Uninvited and threatening people joined online Google Classroom sessions with Victorian school students on at least three separate occasions last year, amid privacy concerns from parents and schools.

Victorian Department of Education documents obtained under freedom of information laws revealed the incidents, including one in which a teacher was forced to shut down a lesson after an abusive stranger entered an online classroom and attempted to engage in what was described as concerning sexual b

Students exposed to risk of fraud and grooming while learning online

Victoria’s Education Department took more than two weeks to warn schools not to use Zoom because the digital platform carried significant privacy and security risks, potentially exposing children to fraud, grooming and identity theft.

The rapid shift to online learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic led schools to use ‘‘non supported’’ digital platforms in ways that undermined children’s privacy and safety online, the Department of Education chief information officer Elizabeth Wilson sai


Complex subjects explained

Explainer: Why people are making room for Roomba ... in their hearts

Gareth Olver’s robot vacuum has its work cut out.

Olver lives in regional Victoria with his family, and the unpaved roads and surrounding countryside mean plenty of dirt gets tracked inside the family home.

“We live on a bit of acreage. So, if I’m out doing stuff – out with the dogs, or chopping wood, or even playing with the kids – you just can’t help but bring stuff in on your shoes,” he says.

All that dust prompted him to bring home ‘Plex’, a robotic vacuum-mop which “skits around the floo

Explainer: Unethical AI and what can be done about it

Italy bans ChatGPT over privacy concerns. An Australian whistle-blower threatens to sue for defamation after the chatbot falsely describes him as a perpetrator in the scandal he helped uncover. A Belgian man dies by suicide after confiding in an AI chatbot.

“Every day, there seems to be headlines about some new thing that raises interesting ethical questions,” says Dr Nick Schuster, an AI ethicist at ANU’s Humanising Machine Intelligence.

“ChatGPT just seems to be the latest headline maker.”

Explainer: Analytical chemistry a secret weapon in conserving museum objects

In Conservation, located in the cool white underbelly of Melbourne Museum, objects conservator Charlotte Walker is preparing a psychedelic Jenny Bannister jacket ready to go on display in the Melbourne Story gallery.

The sleeveless tunic – made by the nationally significant designer when she was only 14 and attending Red Cliffs High School in Victoria – is laid out face down on a white bench.

The influence of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust is evident in the design, which is accented by loud hand

Explainer: What is involved in disposing of radioactive waste from AUKUS nuclear submarines?

Australia will dispose of high-level nuclear waste from AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines, according to details revealed when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met leaders of UK and US on March 13.

Defence Minister Richard Marles confirmed the radioactive waste – including spent nuclear fuel – would require a new facility to be built on “current or future” Defence land with the process of selecting a site beginning in 2023.

Cosmos asked experts in nuclear science, environmental planning, communit

Explainer: Why are electricity prices expected to rise, yet again?

Households in three states could be facing electricity price increases of up to 23.7% from July following a report from the Australian Energy Regulator.

The increase will affect customers on standard power plans, known as the “default market offer” in South Australia, New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

Small businesses could be facing price increases of between 14.7% to 25.7% depending on their location.

The default market offer represents the maximum price is an electricity retailer

Explainer: Is Australia's coal more greenhouse gas friendly than other coal?

In an interview with the ABC 7:30 program, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese claimed if Australia stopped producing and exporting coal, “what you would see is a replacement with coal from other countries that’s likely to produce higher emissions because of the quality of our product”.

It’s a line that’s been spruiked before by Australian leaders like former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2015 and Scott Morrison in 2021.

What is coal anyway?

Coal is a type of sedimentary rock form

News and colour

Daily news and colour stories

What impact does radiation from communication technologies have on animals and plants?

Responding to public concerns about the effects of new telecommunications technologies, like 5G, on the natural environment, Australia’s radiation safety regulator and Swinburne University investigated the evidence, developing a systematic map of 334 studies; 237 relating to effects on animals and 97 about plants.

Lead author and Health Impact Assessment Assistant Director at Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), Associate Professor Ken Karipidis says “this map pr

Using AI large language models for government work poses privacy risks, says Victorian deputy privacy commissioner

Victoria’s deputy privacy commissioner says governments should steer clear of using large language models like ChatGPT in their daily work because of privacy risks.

“The privacy risk is not extreme, but it is present,” says Rachel Dixon, Privacy and Data Protection Deputy Commissioner at the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.

“At the moment it’s not appropriate for governments to use these tools in normal government work,” she tells Cosmos.

Government has special responsibiliti

Fight to save a very-Victorian butterfly, amid global biodiversity decline

In Victoria, there’s an official state animal, bird, flower, fossil, and even a mineral (gold, of course).

While the south-eastern state is yet to claim an insect emblem, the Golden-rayed Blue Butterfly might make a suitable candidate.

This small butterfly – with a wingspan smaller than 3cm – is named for its soft purply-blue wings delicately lined with golden veins.

The Golden-rayed Blue (Candalides noelkeri) is the only butterfly known to exist exclusively in Victoria, says Michael Magrath,

Do period tracking apps need better data leak-protection?

Flinders University law experts are raising questions about the privacy of personal health data collected by period tracking apps and other ‘FemTech’ products and ways this data could be used by third parties.

In an article published in the Law Society of South Australia Journal, Professor Tania Leiman and Lydia Chia say the sensitive data collected by menstrual or ovulation tracking apps could be seen as valuable by employers, health insurers and the legal system.

They say app terms and condi

Scientists discover which body odours mosquitoes prefer

Mosquitos use body odour and carbon dioxide to seek out their sleeping human targets, and an elaborate field experiment in Zambia shows the whiney insects prefer certain body scents over others.

To test the importance of carbon dioxide and body odour in mosquito preference, a team of researchers from the US and Zambia built a 20m square ‘flight cage arena’. They then released 200 hungry mosquitos into the arena over subsequent nights and tracked their activity using infrared motion cameras. The

NSW police members face off in mug match test

Thirty-eight members of the NSW police have superior facial recognition abilities, according to research by forensic psychologists at the University of New South Wales.

More than 1,600 members of the police force were selected to undertake a series of online face matching tasks and memory tests.

The police officers sat three face recognition and memory tests: the Glasgow Face Matching Test (testing the ability to remember unfamiliar faces); the Cambridge Face Memory Test (where participants de

Water levels plunge in half of Earth's largest lakes

Water levels are declining in more than half of the world’s largest lakes, according to analysis of nearly three decades of satellite data.

Climate change and unsustainable human consumption are to blame, say climate researchers from the universities of Virginia and Colorado Boulder in the US.

The assessment published in Science is the first comprehensive review of global trends and drivers of lake water storage, its authors say.

“We have pretty good information on iconic lakes like [the] Cas

Unfair! When AI-controlled Tetris turns sour

When a two-player Tetris game unfairly allocates turns, the player with the smaller share perceives their team mate as less likeable, even when they know an algorithm made the decision.

US researchers used the timeless video game in an experiment to better understand the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) decisions on human relationships.

“When it comes to allocating resources, it turns out Tetris isn’t just a game – it’s a powerful tool for gaining insights into the complex relationship

No difference in key breastmilk nutrients produced by mothers on vegan diet

Mothers following a vegan diet produce similar levels of essential nutrients – Vitamin B2 and carnitine – in their breastmilk as those following an omnivorous diet.

Research from the Amsterdam University Medical Centres found a vegan diet did not affect maternal breastmilk concentrations of the nutrients, even though Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and carnitine are found in the highest concentrations in animal products.

The study was prompted by the increasing popularity of vegan diets, noting that i

One of us! Engineers fool fish school into accepting robotic koi

One fish, swimming alone, encountering a robotic fish impersonator will be wary and tend to avoid the robot, but a group of real fish are more likely to accept the robot as one of their own, and sometimes even abandon other real fish to follow the robot.

Those are the findings of engineers from Peking University and China Agricultural University who created a realistic koi fish robot, and placed one or two in a tank with real fish to see how they would respond.

The research published in Bioins

Fears about HRT preventing people getting treatment for menopause symptoms, say researchers

Hormone therapy is highly effective in reducing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats in up to 90% of patients with moderate to severe symptoms according to an evidence review by Canadian researchers.

The review, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal recommends hormone therapy as a “treatment of choice” for people within 10 years of their final menstrual period or younger than 60 years.

The treatment was associated with other benefits including fewer fractures

US wind farm data shows when bird and bat fatalities most likely

A US study has revealed bat deaths at wind farms are probably seasonal, and curtailing wind turbine movements in line with seasonal patterns could reduce bat deaths.

Bat fatalities at US wind farms peak from mid-July to early September, according to analysis of post construction bird and bat fatality data across nearly a third of installed US wind capacity published in PLOS One.

Peak fatalities of woodland birds correspond to seasonal movements in May and September.

Ryan Butryn, from the Rene

Birds wing it in response to climate change

Birds are changing shape in response to climate change, with species from North and South America getting smaller and longer-winged as the planet warms.

US ecologists have analysed body-size and wing-length data from more than 86,000 bird specimens collected over four decades in North and South America.

They found the smallest bird species are changing the fastest.

“Body size appears to be a primary mediator of birds’ responses to contemporary climate change,” says co-author Brian Weeks, an a

What does the metaverse smell like? Virtual reality passes the sniff test

Virtual reality can already create 3D immersive worlds using vision, audio and haptics, and now researchers are adding smell to the sensory experience.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong created small, wearable, wireless VR interfaces with odour generators, allowing users to smell everything from rosemary, to pancake and even durian.

If you’ve ever wanted to get a whiff of the Sweet Sweet Kingdom in Mario Kart or a sniff of Suspicious Stew in Minecraft, the researchers say their devi

Australian funding for First Nations video games

Screen Australia has announced a new fund to support First Nations video game development.

The First Nations Game Studio fund will provide up to $150,000 per year in support for up to two video games studios operating primarily under the leadership and creative control of Australian Indigenous people.

In announcing the fund, Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke said in a statement, “First Nations communities have been telling stories – through music, dance and song – since the first sunrise. It’s

Pregnant pause: Researcher ultrasounds tiny bats in amazing breeding study

How do you ultrasound a bat which measures 5 cm head-to-tail and weighs as much as a 50c coin?

Nicola Bail from the University of Adelaide is using the unique approach of ultrasounding tiny Southern bent-wing bats in order to estimate the proportion of females reproducing each year.

“Sometimes you have to put a little pencil under their back so that their stomach is sort of popped up, which is very cute. And we put some ethanol on their stomach, and then we put the probe on and have a look aro

Lessons for RoboCup Junior participants: mistakes happen, communication is key

Mistakes are meant to happen, says veteran RoboCup Junior competitor Liam Whitehouse.

That’s the biggest thing Whitehouse has learned after competing in the education-based robotics challenge from year six through to twelve.

“It never works the first time”, he says.

Now, after winning the National Championships last year with his partner, Whitehouse has joined the Victorian committee and hopes to use his experience supporting younger students.

Most of all, he wants them to know, “if it goes

Study finds masks did not reduce COVID-19 for children aged 10-12

Mandatory mask rules in Finnish schools did not reduce COVID-19 incidence among 10-12 year olds, according to a study by researchers from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

The study published in BMC Public Health found masking younger children had no additional effect on COVID-19 infections.

Statistician and lead author Aapo Juutinen told Cosmos that, like in many Australia states, mask mandates were introduced during the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumn 2021 as a response to the worse

Robot jellyfish snags plastic prey

Robot researchers have designed a jellyfish-inspired robot to help clean up the ocean waste, particularly litter on the ocean floor.

The world’s oceans are polluted with plastic, so why not send a robot made from the stuff to clean it up?

The jellyfish-bot is about the size of a human hand. It’s quiet, energy efficient and designed to collect waste from the seabed and bring it to the surface.

The research was done at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

“When a jellyfish swims upwards, it ca

Mapping Australian wildlife with the help of drones, AI and citizen scientists

Queensland University of Technology is teaming up with Landcare Australia and wildlife rescue organisation WIRES to expand its drone-based koala detection program via an Australia-wide network of citizen scientists.

“This is a really aspirational project, we want to change the way conservation is done,” says QUT Associate Professor Grant Hamilton.

“We aren’t going to do conservation just by publishing papers,” he says.

The partnership ‘WildSeek’ aims to build a national conservation AI networ
Load More

Audio and video

Podcasts and interviews

Re-imagining robot design: meet crochet-wearing Blossom

The world of robotics is rapidly unfolding.

Developments in artificial intelligence, manufacturing, materials and powerful computing are bringing us new robots every day.

Cosmos robotics reporter Petra Stock has been examining the industry from capability and uptake, to trust and diversity. In this video, she introduces us to a robot – and creator Dr Michael Suguitan – which might challenge some of preconceived notions about robotics.

Are you ready to Roomba?

Like Hoover – a brand name interchangeably used as a noun and verb for cleaning floors – the ‘Roomba’, released in 2002, is synonymous with the robot vacuum, cornering 88% of the robot vacuum market.

Since its launch, millions of autonomous vacuums have made their way into people’s homes, and often – as the research reveals – into people’s hearts.

In this episode of Huh? Science Explained, Petra Stock gets sucked in by robot vacuum research.
• Australia on conveyor belt towards first National

‎The Science Briefing: Artificial intelligence: who is responsible when AI goes wrong? on

There aren't just a bunch of ethical issues with AI, but potential legal problems as well.

Who's responsible when a self-driving car gets into an accident?

What happens if ChatGPT leaks copyrighted or protected information?

Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock about how our legal systems aren't ready for an AI future and the exploited labor behind artificial intelligence.

See for privacy information.

Disposing of radioactive waste from AUKUS nuclear submarines

We now know Australia will dispose of high-level radioactive waste from AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines, details revealed when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met leaders of UK and US on March 13.

In this episode of Cosmos Insights, science journalists Petra Stock and Matthew Agius ask experts how Australia could go about dealing with high-level nuclear waste from AUKUS submarines.
• Explainer: What is involved in disposing of radioactive waste from AUKUS nuclear submarines?
• What’s happening

Married at First Sight: Is there any actual science behind this so-called experiment?

At Cosmos we love an expert, and one reality show boasts an impressive three of them.

Two psychologists and a sexologist get together on the couch each week to hold their experimental subjects accountable.

If you know what we’re referring to, you’re probably familiar with the reality show Married at First Sight.

Petra Stock is a science journalist at Cosmos Magazine. In this episode of Huh? Science Explained she opens the honesty box and takes a look at the so-called science behind Australia’

Your fitness tracker is lying to you

Fitness trackers. These days most of us have them, whether it’s the phone in your pocket, or the watch on your wrist. Tallying steps, measuring your heart rate, diarising your period.

It seems like a fun way to engage with exercise and health. But have you ever considered your fitness data might help someone steal your bike or even give away secret military information?

In this episode of the podcast Huh? Science Explained, she tracks the trackers to find out if they even work.

‎The Cosmos Podcast on Apple Podcasts

Could baking and Bake Off help solve engineering’s workforce crisis? Could baking and Bake Off help solve engineering’s workforce crisis? Welcome to a Cosmos Insights podcast, where we talk to scientists in Australia about the impact of their work.

Australia is facing its greatest ever engineering skills shortage, according to Engineers Australia.

The clean energy transition, major infrastructure projects and emerging sectors like space are increasing demand for engineering skills. Some 5

Is Bitcoin destroying the planet? And how do cryptocurrencies work?

How do cryptocurrencies – which don’t exist in physical form – have a carbon footprint? Why does Bitcoin use so much electricity?

Are there any benefits?

As the Australian Government considers regulating, Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock to find out the answers to a few of your cryptocurrency questions.

Listen to more episodes of The Science Briefing

More on digital and crypto currencies:

Defending no man’s land: New report outlines policy options to tack

‎Huh? Science Explained: The Emoji Squad: The Mysterious Group Behind the Little Icons We Love 🤝

Emojis. Love them or hate them, they’re now an essential part of our text-based vocabulary. But where do they come from, how do they work, and did you know there's a secretive board of 16 people who control them all?? 🤯

Petra Stock has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Journalism, both from the University of Melbourne. While she loves writing about new technologies (robots, digital platforms), Petra is nostalgic for the retro kind (letters, cassette tapes).


Five in five minutes - Petra Stock's favourite science.

In 2022 Petra Stock brought us a heart-wrenching story about wind turbines killing thousands of bats, including microbats and some species designated as endangered. Petra also found data casting doubt on the safety of e-bikes and described how Barbie Toys can sometimes create confusion for children.

But as important as those stories are, the things which cast a web over Petra throughout the year were spiders.

Get an update of science stories delivered straight to your inbox.

Cosmos: the scien

‎The Cosmos Podcast: Would you rather? An ice age or a very warm interglacial on

Welcome to 'Would You Rather' a podcast where Cosmos science journalists debate a topic and only one comes out the victor.

Today, Cosmos journalists Petra Stock and Evrim Yazgin debate whether an ice age or a very warm interglacial would be a better place to be.

Find the science of everything at the Cosmos Magazine website

Subscribe to Cosmos Magazine (print) or the Cosmos Weekly

Watch and listen to all our Cosmos Briefings

Special 10% discount on Cosmos magazine print subscriptions (1 or 2

The Science Briefing: E-scooter accidents

As more states across Australia roll out e-scooter schemes, unsurprisingly, more people are getting into accidents.

Australian media reports have linked 7 deaths to e-scooters, including the recent death of a 15-year-old boy in Queensland.

But some experts say the reporting on e-scooter injuries and accident rates don’t give the full picture.

Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos journalist Petra Stock about what’s really happening on roads with e-scooters and how ditching the car and hopping

‎The Cosmos Podcast: Teaching cyber security foundations

Welcome to a Cosmos Insights podcast, where we talk to scientists in Australia about the impact of their work.

Cyber security experts have called for online safety and security fundamentals to be taught from early primary school, after a review of the national curriculum revealed key skills gaps.

A report led by Dr Nicola Johnson for the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, has mapped the cyber safety content in the new Australian Curriculum against skills recommended by the Centre, for

Would you rather have a T. rex or a Minmi as your dinosaur pet?

Big dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex have been extinct for 66 million years, but it’s still fun to think about how they might interact with humans.

So, which dinosaur would make a good pet?

Honestly, there are many decent options, but how can you look past the king, T. rex? Or would you prefer to go for the adorable mini herbivore, Minmi?

On this episode of Would You Rather?, Petra Stock and Evrim Yazgin think about what would be required for them to have a dinosaur as a pet, and how to avoid
Load More